One of the most sought-after sets of reference books of the First World War is the National Roll of the Great War. The National Publishing Company attempted, shortly after hostilities ceased, to compile a brief biography of as many participants in the War as possible. The vast majority of entries refer to combatants who survived the Great War and the National Roll is often the only source of information available. Fourteen volumes were completed on a regional basis; this index database now allows simple searching of this unique reference source. Original volumes of this work are scarce the only 14 volumes ever published, cover a region, as follows:
Section XIV Salford
The regions are those in which the persons on the Roll, or their next of kin, were residing at the end of the War.
For instance, an entry for "CUDD, WG, Private, 8th Royal Berkshire Regt" is followed by one for "CUDDINGTON, W, Special War Worker", who was exempted from being called up because of his essential work in an aircraft factory. After the header line, there is a paragraph of on average eight or nine lines of text summarising the individual's contribution to the war (often giving a potted service history and mentioning wounds, medals and/or demobilisation) and closing with an address. Finally, each entry has a reference number (such as Z2323A in the case of WG Cudd mentioned above). The significance of this reference is no longer clear but presumably referred to a card-index or other filing system used by the publishers to track contributions to the book and published entries.
It is thought that the information came not from official sources but from the subjects themselves or their families. Furthermore, like any other resource, the National Roll will contain errors, originating either in the original information supplied by the individuals or their next of kin, or introduced accidentally during the editing and production of the books themselves.